Monday, October 29, 2012

The Beatle Worshippers

I recently obtained an article from the November 28, 1970 issue of the Disc and Music Echo.   While I know I have posted these photos from the article before, I have scanned these personally from the article, so this will be the best quality of the photos. 

I am not too sure what the point of this article is.  To let everyone know how much Paul has changed?  To inform readers that girls do not hang around Paul's house in London anymore?   To give a couple of girls a place to moan and complain about Linda?   Not too sure.

I do not think the two girls in this story were ever official Apple Scruffs.   Although I could totally be wrong.  I think they were in that "other" group of girls that hung mostly around Paul's house.   Even though I dont really "get" the article, I still find it very fascinating.

The Beatles Worshippers
Disc and Music Echo
November 28, 1970
By Roy Shipston

When you are a fan, a REAL fan, you don’t go about proving your admiration for your particular favourite in half measures.  It’s a full-time occupation, whether the subject of your energies and attentions be Elvis, George Best, Rupert Bear, Noddy or Edward Heath.

Fans, in the Sixties’ sense of the word, are a dying breed.  It’s just not “cool” anymore, is it, except in the case of Tom Jones.  The millions who screamed at the mere mention of the word “Beatles” are still around, a little older now, but the steps of the Apple offices are no longer cluttered with girls hopeful for a glimpse of whoever they wanted to catch a glimpse of.

But there are still some girls who would spend a day on a draughty pavement in all seasons just in case one of the fabulous four should appear.  They would do it, if it was worth their while.  But it isn’t anymore.

Two of the few are Christine Stevens and Michelle Bernel, both 18, from Coydon, who, until about nine months ago, used to spend every day at the gate of Paul McCartney’s St. John’s wood home.  They were there faithfully in all weathers for the best part of two years.  In fact, they went every day for a year and sometimes stayed as long as 12 hours at a time.

But not anymore.  And that’s not just because Paul is hardly ever there now.  It’s because he changed.  He’s not the old Beatle Paul they used to love.  Well, he isn’t even a Beatle any more is he?
Why would two teenage girls want to devote so much time to their idol?  Well, the answer isn’t simple.

“I suppose we just wanted to see him.  He was always friendly.  He often used to chat to us.  But Paul changed when he got married.”  That’s the view of Christine Stevens, who with her friend, Michelle Bernel took these pictures of Paul during the time they knew him well.

“It was before he got married that he started to change; as soon as Linda came along, that’s when it happened.  We spent most of our time there for nearly two years.  But we haven’t been for nine months now –since they went to Scotland.”

Christine feels that there might even be truth in the “Paul is dead” rumours – she says he’s changed that much! “I think it might even be true about him dying because he’s not the same person.  There always used to be girls down the street.  Some would come just on his birthday, but there was a hard core of us always there.  Nobody goes anymore.”

Christine, an attractive brunette, said that Paul used to be the perfect star.  If there weren’t too many fans around he would come out and chat to them, sometimes for five minutes, sometimes for 20.
“We just used to chat about things in general.  We used to go inside the gate if there were a lot of girls about, but not very often.”

She insists that Paul never invited her or her friend inside.  “The nearest we got was inside the gate.” She says.

In the early days when Paul went out, he would always tell fans what time he was coming back, so that they didn’t have to hang around pointlessly.  And he even used to pose for them to take photos like the ones on this page.  

“Before he was married he didn’t mind us taking photographs.  Then he used to tell us that we had to ask him first.  And later he didn’t like us taking them at all.  It must be something to do with Linda, that’s what most people seem to think.  She must have got something across him.  You could tell he was changing.  It was when she came along that he started dressing differently, wearing Levis and bovver boots.” 

“Just before he announced that he didn’t want to be a Beatle anymore he told us that he was sick of it.  He said he didn’t think he’d ever be able to live it down.”

Christine says that none of the other Beatles had visited Paul “for years.”  Ringo was the last one to go round there and that was ages ago.  John hasn’t been since he got married to Yoko.  And George told us once at Apple that “Paul thinks he’s it, he always has.”  Even his own brother won’t go round now.

“We stopped going to his house about nine months ago when he went to Scotland.  He told us he didn’t want fans around because he didn’t want to be reminded of what he was.  If he hadn’t changed so much we’d probably still be there!”

Now the McCartneys have abandoned Scotland and have gone even further afield, presumably in their efforts to get away from it all, to America.  And Christine and her friend admit that if Paul wants keep himself to himself, he has the right to a bit of peace and quiet.

“He must have had enough of it for five years.”

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